Iran: dissident rapper could face execution

The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran on April 6 urged the international community to demand the release of Toomaj Salehi, a popular rapper who has become a prominent voice of Iran's protest movement. Salehi was arrested in October, and charged with "corruption on Earth," which carries the death penalty, as well as "propaganda against the state," "collaboration with hostile governments," and other offenses punishable by up to 10 years in prison. No date has been set for the trial. Toomaj has been segregated from all other inmates in Dastgerd Prison, a maximum-security facility run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Following the release of a video by the state media showing Salehi with bruises on his face and a blindfold covering his eyes while apologizing for his words, the rapper's family members and supporters cited instances of torture to obtain a false confession. (Jurist)

Another rapper, Saman Yasin, an ethnic Kurd, also remains jailed after being arrested in October amid street protests. He was initially facing charges that could carry the death sentence, but those charges were dismissed on appeal to Iran's Supreme Court in December. In February, he went on hunger strike at Evin Prison in protest of the "state of uncertainty" in his case, and being denied legal counsel of his own choosing. (CHRI, The Guardian)

Iran executed over 500 people in 2022

Human rights groups Iran Human Rights and Together Against the Death Penalty on April 13 released a report showing a dramatic increase in the total number of executions in Iran for 2022. The report claims that 582 people were executed in 2022—the highest number of executions since 2015. (Jurist)

Iran executed at least 140 people in May

The group Iran Human Rights released data on June 1 showing that Iran executed a minimum of 142 people in May, the highest number in one month since 2015. Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: "The purpose of the Islamic Republic’s intensification of arbitrary executions is to spread societal fear to prevent protests and prolong its rule. If the international community doesn’t show a stronger reaction to the current wave of executions, hundreds more will fall victims to their killing machine in the coming months." (Jurist)

Iran executes protestor with a long-term disability

Iran on Jan. 23 executed Mohammad Ghobadlou, a man with a long-term psycho-social disability, for the murder of a police officer during the 2022 protests. (Jurist)

Iran sentences rapper Toomaj Salehi to death

An Iranian revolutionary court has sentenced one of the Islamic Republic's best known rappers, Toomaj Salehi, to death for charges linked to the 2022-23 unrest, according to his lawyer and state media. (Reuters)

Iran security forces molested and killed teen protester

An Iranian teenager was sexually assaulted and killed by three men working for Iran's security forces, a leaked document indicates. Nika Shakarami, 16, vanished from an anti-regime protest in September 2022. Her body was found nine days later. The government claimed she killed herself.

Marked "Highly Confidential," the report summarizes a hearing on Nika's case held by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It includes what it says are the names of her killers and the senior commanders who tried to hide the truth. (BBC News, BBC World Service)

Iran cracks down on Satanist rock music

Iranian police arrested over 260 people at an underground music festival in the Shahriar area of Tehran province May 17, branding the event a "Satanist gathering." (Iran International)

Iran high court overturns death sentence for activist rapper

Iran’s Supreme Court overturned the death sentence imposed on dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi, his lawyer announced June 22. The news was confirmed by Salehi’s lawyer, Amir Raisian, on X. Raisian said that, through this decision, the Iranian Supreme Court avoided an "irreparable judicial error." (Jurist)